Mencap urges councils to house service users as elderly parents die

Local authorities are failing to meet the
future housing needs of thousands of people with a learning
difficulty who are living at home with elderly parents, a major
survey of local authorities has found.

research, by learning difficulty charity Mencap, shows that only
one in four local authorities have made plans for 2002-3 to find
alternative accommodation for people with learning difficulties
being cared for by parents aged over 70.

report says: “On the current rate of planning of only 227 places
[in all local authorities] being provided per year – it will take
30 years to meet the needs of people living with older parents aged
70 and over.”

Housing Timebomb found that half of the local authorities
surveyed didn’t know the number of people with learning
difficulties living with elderly parents, only one in five have
provided for a significant increase in their residential and
nursing care budget for next year, and only one in 10 have provided
for an increase in supported living cash.

calls for social services to work with families to draw up
long-term care and support plans, ideally when the parent reaches
50, with priority given to those living with parents aged 70 and

also recommends that registers should be kept recording the number
of parents aged 60 and over, whether their children may need a move
within the next 3-5 years, and the type and cost of support needed.
The government estimates there are 29,000 people with a learning
difficulty living at home with a parent aged 70 or over in

survey calls into question whether local authorities are following
government guidance to address the problem as a high

year, the learning difficulty white paper Valuing People
set out plans to introduce a performance indicator to identify the
percentage of carers aged 70 or over for whom a plan has been

Congdon, director of public affairs at Mencap, said that he had
expected to see councils produce a more rigorous response to the
government guidance. “They are only providing alternative housing
packages when the parent carer dies or becomes ill because it saves
them money in the short term. It means they are always faced with a
situation of making provision in a crisis.”

surveyed 150 English local authorities between January and May this
year. The report is based on responses from 92 of them covering
more than 90,000 adults with a learning difficulty known to local

Housing Timebomb can be found at

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